The Bier Garden: 46 Haywood St, Asheville NC 28801
FOOD: ★★★ - DINING AMBIANCE: ★★ - PRICE: INEXPENSIVE $10
In the 15 years since I first visited Asheville, North Carolina I have been to the Bier Garden many, many times. But I have avoided it altogether in the last five or six years. Why?
Not because they have over 200 beers from around the world to choose from. That's always been a plus. And certainly not because they serve bad food. As bar food goes it's good. And not because I can watch, at any given moment, whatever sporting event I happen to be interested in on one of their 20 televisions. It's a sports bar after all, one of the few in Asheville.
I stopped going to the Bier Garden because it was one of the bars in town where all the university students congregated on weekends. It's a huge restaurant, and in the center is a giant two story atrium, tiled in marble and surrounded by glass. So as the evening progresses, and the cheery revelers turn into obnoxious, drunken monkeys, the cacophony in that giant space starts to make my ears ring and eyes bulge. And as I got older, and my ears more sensitive, I just couldn't take it.
Well I'm back at the Bier Garden, first for the Champions League final, and now for the 2011 NBA playoffs, after a four year hiatus. And I'm happy to say that the monkeys have migrated to somewhere else in town, perhaps The LAB down the street. I'm also happy to say that over the last 3 weeks I've eaten at The Bier Garden no less than 6 times, and I've enjoyed every meal.
My favorite from the menu is the fish and chips, which is served with a delicious slaw that's really a delicately pickled remoulade of cabbage and okra. It's fantastic, I just wish they wouldn't put the pickled okra on top of my tartar sauce. I'm kinda freaky about the foods on my plate touching each other.
Other favorites are the Corned Beef Melt, which isn't the slightest bit fatty, and the Japanese Kobe Beef burger, which isn't really Kobe beef, as real Kobe beef is only bred and served in Japan, or so I've been told. I'm also inclined to order the NY cheesecake once in a while, although I'm always a bit self conscious when I do because I seem to be the only dude in the whole joint eating dessert. Without exception.
There's always a tap beer on special, and it's often a local brew, so I'm slowly familiarizing myself with Asheville's vaunted micro beer culture (Beer City USA, 2009). Some evenings less slowly than others.
The Bier Garden is still a sports bar and it's still a bit noisy. But it no longer reminds me of the beer houses of my college days, which is a good thing. The staff is nice, all around, and the waitresses call me Honey, Dear, Darling, Sweetie, and lately, Baby. As if I needed another reason to go.
The Bier Garden in downtown Asheville, 46 Haywood Street